Now that Alpha 3 has been out for a couple weeks, what have we been up to? Our main focus has been on getting multiplayer ready for the public to start using. Keith and Sean have been working hard to get all sorts of server business sorted out and working properly so you guys will be able to start building contraptions together! If everything goes according to plan, multiplayer should be in our next big update. We can’t wait to see what everyone will be able to create with multiple people working together.
Speaking of awesome creations, a few stand out community members have been doing some amazing work since we added lasers into the game. What started as just a few logic gate creations has grown into crazy complicated programmable contraptions (check the header image). There is a thread going over on our Steam forums that is full of some really great posts for anyone interested in Contraption Maker logic and wiring. The game wont be complete until someone makes a full working computer inside of a contraption
Our next update may be a little light on new parts. We have really been focusing on getting multiplayer working, and Kevin has been working on some deep down physics changes. He is doing a big change from floating point calculations to integers. This is a pretty painful process right now, but it’s going to have some great changes on the game. This is going to solve a lot of determinism issues that have still been hanging around, and allow us to implement handy features like copy & paste. The best outcome is that it should allow the game to run the same as we make the move over to ARM chips when we make our mobile version. I can’t say if this change will be in the same update as multiplayer, as it may take longer than expected if other issues pop up. Unfortunately deep down changes like this don’t put much “money on the screen,” but they are for the better, and it’s much better to do them now instead of later.
Finally, we have started a new video series. The “Contraption Maker School” will help guide players through different parts of the game. We have two videos so far, one is an overview of the whole game for brand new players, and the other walks you through the process of making your own puzzle. As we make more of these videos, they should help new players get started making their own contraptions.
BONUS NOTE: We are on sale for 50% off this whole week during the Steam Autumn Sale! Go get it!
Alright, here it is: Alpha 3! Even more parts for you to play with, some new puzzles, and a lot of usability fixes to make building your contraptions a much smoother process. Grab the latest update from Steam, or buy the Early Access to start playing this awesome new build!
New parts have been added, a big portion of which are lasers and their associated parts.
- Egg: The egg can roll around and be thrown around your contraptions. If it falls too far or gets hit to hard it will break. Try to throw it as far as you can without breaking it.
- Egg Timer: Set a time and then hit the button on the top or bottom. When time is up, the hand will give a poke.
- Lawn Mower Motor: Attach a rope and pull the starter. The mower will run forever.
- Bellows: Hit the bellows with a ball to give a one time gust of wind.
- Steve the Crocodile: Steve just hangs out and eats whatever comes his way. If he can’t eat it, he will toss it up in the air.
- Phil the Fish: Phil swims around in his bowl. If you break the bowl, it will attract Waldo.
Lasers and associated parts have been added. This is the very first version of lasers, and they do not have final art, but they are functional.
- RGB Lasers: Standard lasers come in red, green, and blue. They must be plugged in to turn on.
- RGB Inverse Lasers: Inverse lasers turn on by default. If the sensor on the back is hit by another laser, it will turn off.
- Mirror: Bounce lasers around with mirrors.
- Splitter: This will split one laser into two.
- Laser Outlet: An outlet powered by laser input.
- Mixer: Mix two lasers to make a new color.
- Repeater: Extends the reach of a laser. It can also have a delay applied to how long it takes to turn on and off.
A smaller update than last time, but there are 10 new official puzzles. These are all categorized as easy. As we have watched many people play the game, they have asked for easier puzzles to help ease them into the game. We will add more hard puzzles eventually, but until then there are plenty of awesome, hard puzzles in the Workshop.
Additional Scenery Pieces
No new scenery sets, but the forest and underwater sets have had more parts added to them. Enjoy playing with new trees, cabins, shipwrecks, and more.
A number of usability improvements have made the game easier to use. The biggest change is how ropes and belts are handled. Ropes and belts can now be selected directly instead of having to first select the part they are attached to. Also, when holding a rope or a belt, all possible attach points are shown to make it easier to see what can be attached to.
This is just a small sample of what has been improved and fixed. Check out this FORUM POST for a full list of changes.
There were a number of part changes and physics changes that may affect how your current contraptions run. Some are simple, such as the fuse being moved on the cannon.
However, there were some changes made that fixed a number of physics determinism issues. These are needed changes which help make sure contraptions run the same every time on all sorts of different computers. There is a chance that it can affect some contraptions though, so it would be a good idea to run through your current contraptions to update them.
Sorry to leave everyone in the dark last week, I was at Minecon, and it pretty much took all of my time for the weekend. Speaking of Minecon, it went great! It was a good opportunity to get Contraption Maker in front of an entirely new audience. It was a much younger audience, so a lot of them had never heard of The Incredible Machine, and had never played anything like it. Really great to see a whole new generation is ready to embrace the game.
Game progress is still going great, and we seem to be on track for an Alpha 3 release next week. With multiplayer progress going faster than we originally anticipated, Keith has jumped back to the current build to work on some user interface tweaks and bugs. Multiplayer wont be coming in the update next week, but it will be hopefully coming sooner than we thought! Kevin is still adding new parts, and is now working on getting the first batch of laser parts into the game.
I’m working on making a few new puzzles for the update. After watching people play the game at both PAX and Minecon now, I want to add some more easy and tutorial puzzles for those that are new to the game. For people that have never played the game before and don’t understand the concept, it can be very difficult to even solve the easiest of puzzles. Also, that “aha!” moment of solving a puzzle still feels good even if you just have to put down one part. I’ve seen the joy in a lot of people’s eyes in person now, and you can see how excited they get. For those that want super hard pull your hair out puzzles, those will be coming in due time. For now, there are plenty of puzzles being uploaded in the community that are usually harder than the official ones.
For your video this week, I have compiled another collection of community contraptions. The last couple of weeks has seen a lot of new puzzles and contraptions being uploaded. I keep getting amazed at the creativity coming from everyone playing the game. It really is inspiring, and it makes us want to continue working hard to get the best product we can out to everyone.
Happy Friday everyone! Another week of steady progress of Contraption Maker. Most of the parts that had art finished for them last week are in the game. We now have bellows, Phil the Fish, and Steve the Crocodile to play with. Some concepts for an upcoming batch of parts also got finished, so those will be modeled soon as well.
For the upcoming Alpha 3, we are going to try and get our first batch of laser parts into the game. Lasers are going to have more associated parts than they did in TIM to make them a lot more powerful. That will deserve a blog post by itself to go over what parts we are adding and why. For this first batch of parts though, it will most likely be lasers, mixers, mirrors, and outlets. Just the bare bones parts to get you guys starting to play around with them.
I leave you all with a new video showing off the new parts that we got into the game this week.
Alpha 2 has been out for a little over a week now, and hopefully you guys are having fun with all of the new stuff! Progress has been moving along towards our next major update which should be out in November. We got a hotfix build out last week that fixed some bugs from the Alpha 2 release. Here is a full list of those changes:
- Fix most of the flickering issue with textfields inside windows when scrolling.
- Fixed crash when deleting a frame.
- Fixed bug preventing text from being set
- Fixed crash when an animation node label was clicked
- Hide push front / back buttons for ghost nodes
- Hide push front / back buttons and slider when resizing or rotating.
- Type (unneeded space) in Electric Generator state
- Made Remote Bomb Plunger correct set goal state
- Made Remote Bomb Plunger correct set goal state
- Made Buckets affected by explosions
- Fixed Remote Bomb Plunger so the collision shape gets correctly updated
- Made Steam Whistle recognize goal state
- Fixed animation tool crash
- Fixed “Angry Tims” and “The Pretty Good Escape” to be solvable
We just got some art done for new parts coming up, and it’s looking pretty sweet! Here is just a handful of some of the new parts you can expect in our next major update.
Keith’s next big project is getting cooperative contraption building working. He just got up his first playable version. We can now work on the same contraption with two different computers at once! There is still a lot a work ahead before this feature hits the alpha for all of you to play with, but it’s still exciting.
That’s it for this week, stay tuned for another update next week. Keep on building contraptions and sharing them on the Workshop for us all to see! No need to be selfish and keep them to yourself. Every day there are awesome puzzles and contraptions uploaded to the Workshop, it’s definitely fun to see.
For this week’s video, enjoy this contraption from community member Extazy Test N°2. He has been putting up some awesome creations, each one seems more amazing than the last. This contraption told a little story, and used the background pieces in an interesting way. A lot of stuff happens behind the scenes so you don’t get to see everything, but sometimes a little mystery makes it fun
Alpha 2 is now live for all to enjoy! More than just bug fixes, this update comes with new parts, puzzles, and more! Grab the latest update on Steam, or buy the Early Access to get all sorts of new Contraption Maker goodness into your hands.
12 new parts have been added , both old and new. Not all of the new parts have final art, but they are functional and we want to get them in your hands to play around with.
- Solar Panel: Create power by using light.
- Remote Bomb: Hit the detonator or pull it with a rope to set off a bomb somewhere else in your contraption.
- Small & Large Wood Planks: Wood planks that can be stacked up, or hook ropes to them. Lots of possibilities with such a simple part.
- Wrecking Ball: A heavy wrecking ball that can attach to ropes. Cause some destruction!
- Domino: Line them up & knock them down. A classic piece for making chain reactions.
- Milton Mouse: Milton is a simple mouse. He likes cheese and he is scared of cats. Use these influences to move him around your contraptions.
- Milton’s House: Get Milton to his house as a goal for your puzzles & creations.
- Power Strip: Extend your electric cords, or plug more things into one outlet.
- Electric Light: A light bulb powered by a switch instead of a rope pull.
- Invisible Wall: A wall that can’t be seen while the contraption is running. Use it to make parts look like they are interacting with the scenery, not for making annoying puzzles
- Incline: An incline that can only be set to specific lengths. Useful as a puzzle piece.
There are 25 new official puzzles, bringing the total up to 30. We are still focusing more on the builder right now than puzzles, but we wanted to give you guys more to play with. If you want more puzzles, there are over 100 in the workshop for you to solve as well.
2 new backgrounds, underwater and alien planet, have been added. These give you a bunch of new scenery pieces to play with.
Bring your backgrounds to life with the new background animation tool. It’s a little touchy right now, but it’s pretty easy to use and very powerful. Create looping or one off animations to really bring your backgrounds to life.
We’ve added some temporary music so you no longer have to play in silence. These are not final, and the soundtrack will be an ongoing project. Music was a huge part of the original Incredible Machine, and we want to recreate the feelings that it made the best we can.
Performance Improvements & Bug Fixes
A number of bug fixes have been added, as well as some performance improvements. The game now runs a lot better on less powerful machines.
Detailed Change Log
- Reduced draw calls by a factor of 10 on some levels.
- Reduced Texture memory requirements by 75%.
New Features & Art:
- Added a new puzzle complete dialog
- New end-of-movie dialog that allows opening up the windows / osx explorer and selecting the just-recorded movie.
- Voting on Community puzzles & contraptions — There is now a vote dialogue when you complete a puzzle, and you can also vote in the stash.
- The first pass at background animations are done! Add one-off or looping animations to the scenery pieces.
- Scale of sprites can be animated
- Sprites can be scaled independently in x and y
- Nodes can have a delay
- Text nodes can be animated
- Opacity can be animated
- New Iron Ball artwork
- New Balloon colors
- New Music
- Scenery order adjustable within each layer
- Fixed multiple belt bugs
- Vacuum does not absorb parts when it is turned off
- Adjusted how Rope slack works so there is no slack when either end is attached to a static body
- Fixed bug where locking a part removes all other actions icons around it
- Fixed crash bug with plug sprite
- Added in some Missing Text Messages
- Fixed flipping on quite a few parts so the multi-selection flipping works correctly
- Fixed dragging multi-selection box that has unattached Rope and Belt ends in it
- Kept Pulley from rotating way too fast
- Fixed snap point on Intersection Pipe
Physics & Part Adjustments
- Adjusted force needed to trigger Steam Whistle
- Teeter-Totter snaps to grid so it can line up with walls
- Waldo is now affected by explosions when walking
- Doubled resize area for resizing windows
- Tooltips now appear when you hover over a button.
- Reworked tabs for the parts and scenery bins, including new art and new tabs.
- Move to back / move to front buttons for scenery
- Restore saved position for windows.
We are loving all of the creativity we are seeing out in the workshop, and your input on the forums has been very valuable to us. We were a little quiet the last couple of weeks, but we will try to keep you guys more updated in the future. Expect weekly updates on our blog and in the forums. Alpha 3 should hit in about a month with even more parts and fun things to play with. Until then, keep making crazy contraptions and puzzles!
We just pushed a new build out to Steam. This is a lot bigger than our last few that were just some emergency bug fixes. A lot of these changes are to the physics and usability based on feedback from you guys. We are dubbing this “Alpha 1.5″ since there aren’t any new parts or major features being added. Our full Alpha 2 should be out in a couple of weeks, and that will have lots of new stuff to play with.
If you still aren’t in on the Early Access, what are you waiting for? Head over to Steam and pick it up! http://store.steampowered.com/app/241240
- The accelerator pipe behaves more like in TIM now. It will boost objects with the same power every time
- Fixed an issue where adding or removing parts in one area of a contraption was changing unrelated physics in another
- Fixed physics issues causing some contraptions to run differently across PC & Mac
- Added a fix where having Toolman Tim in a contraption would cause it to behave differently on multiple runs
- Fixed some cases where nitro wasn’t exploding like it should
- Accelerator pipe straightens things passing through it
- Toolman Tim can fall farther without being knocked out
- Balloons have slightly more lifting power
- Flat conveyor belts now have the same friction as angled
- Modified how bouncy balls hit each other to reduce chances of tunneling
- Disabled editing while physics are running (this may come back as an advanced feature)
- Clicking on the playfield or dragging in a new part will now stop a contraption
- Dragging a part out of the playfield now throws it away
- Mouse zoom sensitivity can now be adjusted in the settings. This fixes an issue with people using trackpads and magic mice
- Ropes & belts will no longer go outside of the puzzle bounds when placed
- Rope & belt ends now take priority over things below them
- The record button has been spaced farther from the play button to avoid misclicks
- “My Stash” will now auto refresh when opened
- “My Stash” is now sorted with newest downloads on the first page
- More stash sorting options
- Ratings, author, and avatar are now shown in the community browser and the stash
- Added a “reset” button in puzzles that clears the playfield of parts you have placed
- Completing a puzzle now brings up a “puzzle complete” box that allows you to play the next puzzle, stay on the current one, return to the menu, or record a movie
- The part overlap error message will now list which parts are overlapping
- The wall stretch handle now has rotational arrows to show that the wall can be rotated
- Belts are easier to grab after they are connected
- Added prompts for leaving make mode without saving
- Puzzles must now have a goal and description in order to be published
Assorted Bugs & Crashes
- Fixed a crash involving the state editor being on top of the help window
- Fixed an issue in Windows 7 where deleting a part with an attached belt would cause a crash
- Fixed an issue where subscribing to more than 50 community levels was not allowed
- Fixed a crash if you deleted a scenery layer while a scenery object was selected
- Fixed a crash involving moving a belt or rope while the help window was open
- Fixed an issue where hitting Esc was crashing the game
- Fixed an issue with some overlapping parts not showing a red X
- Goal flags are no longer visible when recording in Make mode
- Fixed a crash when adding a lot of balls
- Windows in make mode preserve their sizes better
- Republishing a level will remember the level type from before
- Scenery is now cropped in save game thumbnails
- Deadlocked belts will no longer rotate
- Fixed an issue where ropes going through pulleys would sometimes not trigger rayguns
Wow what a whirlwind of a week! In case you didn’t catch any of our other information sources, we launched on Steam last Wednesday. The launch has been going really great so far. Forums on both our site and on Steam have been very active with people that have purchased the game. We are already squashing bugs and fixing up features with the help of the community. Everyone has also been very understanding that the game is in fact in Alpha. Not to say that the game is a buggy mess, but it definitely has a couple hang ups in the UI and usability that take some getting used to for now. Fear not though, we are making quick progress. Aside from bug hotfixes that are pushed out, you can expect an update to the game every couple of weeks.
I have been amazed at the things already created by the community so far. Just hours after launching we already had our first puzzle uploaded to the Workshop. As of today, we have about 150 creations out in the Workshop. The creativity and enthusiasm from everyone has been great. Here is a little highlight reel of community uploads.
Immediately after we launched on Wednesday, half of us drove up to Seattle on Thursday to show off Contraption Maker at PAX. This was the first time we showed the game in person to people other than our close friends and family. We were absolutely floored by the response from everyone at PAX. We had a number of people that sat at our demo stations for over an hour. Considering how much more there was for them to see at the convention, that was a pretty awesome thing to see happen.
I’ve said “awesome” and “great” a lot here, but it’s just because we are so excited! We couldn’t have asked for a better launch, and we can’t wait to see where this game goes in the future.
After many “soon”s and “end of the summer”s, I can finally let everyone know that we will be releasing to Steam Early Access next week on August 28th! It will be up to purchase right before we head up to PAX to show it to everyone there. This is very exciting for all of us, and I can’t wait to get the game into everyone’s hands. This is just the first step in what we hope to be an ongoing process for years. This game will never be complete. As we keep adding more over time, Contraption Maker is going to evolve into a platform for building, learning, and sharing.
To wet your appetite over the next week, we have an official teaser trailer for all to enjoy. You can also check out our blog post about the Alpha from a few weeks ago. This will let you know what to expect when you get the game from Steam next week!
This week was really exciting on the “new parts into the game” front. We now have pulleys for ropes. That may not sound like much, but it is actually really hard to get them working properly with everything we are able to do with ropes. They also should give the same results if they are run on a Mac or a PC, which is awesome. Also, now that pulleys are out of the way, Kevin can start rocking on adding more (much simpler) parts into the game. Other than pulleys, everything else has been really tidying everything up to try and get it all presentable for our Alpha. Our Steam page is looking really nice, and everything is starting to feel a lot more real.
For this week’s showcase video, I decided to really go for it. This one is about twice the size of the one that I made last week, so you are in for a real treat. There is so much going on in this one that you have to watch it a few times to really appreciate everything that happens in it. I tried to really make use of the new pulleys, and I made some pretty cool contraptions involving ropes and blimps. I hope you all enjoy “Toast Teamwork”. In this, Tim and his twin brother Tom work together to make some toast.